The Master of Puppets

March 22, 2009
By Emily Vilbert BRONZE, St. Peters, Missouri
Emily Vilbert BRONZE, St. Peters, Missouri
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

I am afraid of him. Well, at least I was until I figured him out.

When I met him, the things I noticed first he made 100 percent obvious. He would pick me up and I’d feel those stone-solid arms lifting me from Earth as if I was a feather pillow. When I hugged him, my nose would only touch the middle of his chest. He would look down at me, and I swore I could see his soul through his clear blue eyes. It wasn’t until two years later that I found out the soul and person I thought I’d been seeing was only a mask, a shield from his true self.

He would always make me laugh. He was becoming the only person in the world that could predict my every thought and my very next move. I didn’t mind, however. He proved to me in many ways that I could trust him. I could always count on him for anything in the world. If I even once hesitated on his trust, he’d give me a million dollar smile and tell me he loved me. This is how things always went. I’d constantly hear that I was his everything and that he’d never let me go.

We would hardly ever argue, and when we did, it would be resolved as soon as it began. Of course, I would always be the one to give in. I figured it wasn’t worth fighting even longer. Even when he began insisting that every word that came out of my mouth made absolutely no sense and that I was stupid, I would only defend myself for a minute. It was impossible to argue with him. It was even more impossible to try to make him understand. I began to see how stubborn he was. His word was law, and nothing I said, no matter how much I cried, would change his mind. As the arguments began to happen more frequently and grew more and more verbally dangerous, I became more and more stupid. Even when we weren’t arguing, every word I said was pointless.

It wasn’t until things got physical a few times that I began to lose trust in him. One stupid argument left me with a cracked head while another left me with three broken toes. When I saw his stone-solid arms and chest after this began, I became afraid rather than weak in the knees.

Everything he did was always right, and I was always wrong. Maybe it was because I was now afraid of him. Every word I spoke would result in a vulgar one from his mouth. Every light, playful punch I’d give to him would get me a small purple bruise in return.

Meanwhile, I was losing all of my friends. They’d call me, and he would dismiss them as fast as a bolt of lightning. It didn’t take long before they’d give up and assume I wanted nothing to do with them.

My family became the only ones persistent enough to try and talk to me. They’d ask me why I was never around or why I never brought him over for dinner. I would quickly wave away their worries in fear of what might happen if they really knew.

I watched him control me as if he was the master of puppets. He would lift the right wood handle and my right arm would rise above my head. I felt like a ragdoll, his personal puppet.

I soon became not good enough. I knew that everything he owned had to be the best. He’d gotten a new car: five-speed, loud exhaust, black, tinted windows, black wheels with a chrome lip, and a racing clutch. He went to the gym daily for at least three hours. Since he now basically owned me as well, I had to be the best. It didn’t take long for me to realize that everything about me wasn’t good enough. Soon, I was going to the gym at least three hours a day along with him. I was eating less, afraid if I ate anything that contained more than fifteen calories at once, I would be booted out in the blink of an eye.

Everything he told me to do I did with absolutely no hesitation. He was God. If I disobeyed, I would be struck by lightning.

Day by day, I had the same routine: go to school (only if I wasn’t told to skip), get to his house by two-thirty (so he wouldn’t think I went elsewhere), get to the gym by three o’clock (and stay there until at least six), go back to his house, and do absolutely nothing until bed.

I felt like I was an ant, and he was a twelve year-old with a magnifying glass in the sun light. He watched my every move, and if I did the wrong thing, I would be burned.

After almost two years of being under his control, he decided I still wasn’t the best. He began searching around for the perfect girl while I worked my hardest to be better than anyone else he might meet. I didn’t have the courage to stand up for myself, for what I knew in my heart was right.

A few months later, he broke up with me. He had found a girl that was everything I was not. I felt broken. I was stripped of everything: my personality, my courage, my trust, and my big heart. I was a completely different person. I was no longer nice to everyone I met. Instead, I gave the cold shoulder. Instead of trusting someone until they did something to lose it, I refused to trust anyone altogether. If anyone told me to do something, I would do it without any questions. Most of my time was spent alone. I refused anyone that wanted to talk. They’d tell me that it wasn’t my fault and that I didn’t deserve any of his behaviors, but I would only get defensive. Of course it was my fault. I didn’t work hard enough at making things better. I could have and should have tried much harder to be the best. Therefore, I deserved every single dirty look and rude whisper. After all, he was only trying to make me a better person.

Most people thought I’d be happy to be out of the relationship and out from under his magnifying glass, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t used to making my own decision, and I didn’t like it. I refused to break my old routine. I figured I’d show him who I could really be. I went to the gym longer each day and ate even less. I never stepped outside of the pattern.

I realized after months went by that all of my hard work was not going to pay off. I knew that I deserved punishment, but I could not find a rough enough way to pay for my wrongs.

My mother had been noticing my behavior. She was worried. She started getting upset when I’d be gone for hours at the gym. She’d cook extra for dinner, hoping I’d eat more since I had burned so many calories. Most nights I’d push away the plate she made for me claiming that I wasn’t hungry, or that I already ate.

I wanted to move out, but all that my mom said was that I wasn’t stable enough to be alone. She wanted to watch me, but I was afraid she’d find out what had really been going on.

My father wanted me to move out and move in with my brother. I agreed, but I wouldn’t tell any of them about my horrific past.

One night I stayed the night at a friend’s house. I remember jolting awake to her staring at me with wide-open eyes. She told me I was screaming and crying in my sleep. I lifted my hand to my cheek. Sure enough, when I pulled my fingers away, they were wet.

I didn’t understand my own feelings. I had no idea who I was. I couldn’t tell when I was happy or sad, or what it meant when my stomach was churning.

My parents suggested that I see a psychologist, and after some reluctance, I finally agreed. I told her my story. She was confused as to how this had happened to me. I looked and seemed like such a wonderful person. This confused me. Who was this woman seeing?

I finally began opening up to people. I spoke with my friends again. They had no idea what had been happening.

Occasionally, I’d have anxiety attacks whenever something would go wrong, or when someone was upset with me. I was still hard on myself, but not as bad as before.

I soon met someone. He was sweet and charming and everything opposite of my past. I talked with him and my best friend, and they’d tell me things were alright now, that he couldn’t hurt me anymore. I believed them. My new boyfriend never made the mistakes the old one did. He never made me feel stupid or guilty. At first, I would never eat around him afraid I might spark someone else’s old pattern. Eventually, though, he made me feel comfortable enough to do or say anything.

Months passed by, and I soon forgot about who I used to be. I liked the person I’d become.

There was only one time when he tried to get me to come back to him, but I was strong enough then to know that taking a step back would leave me forever struggling to put my foot forward and into the future. I stood up for myself, nice and strong. For once, it was my turn to put my foot down and stand in his way of walking all over me. I had gotten my taste of freedom, and I was running.

I was a changed person. It took time for me to see the things other people had noticed from the beginning. I was under a cloud. I was blinded and couldn’t un-tie the blind-fold. If I had never gotten the small amount of time to myself to think about who I was and who I wanted to be, I might have been right back where I started, re-tying the blind-fold.

We must un-tie the blind-fold and figure things out. It’s not until we go through things like this, the things good enough to tell a story about, that we realize who we really are, who we’ve become, and who we really want to be.

The author's comments:
I wrote this for my creative writing class. she wanted a description of a character. I started writing about him, everything I could think of. I let it all out. After I was finished, I let it sit for a few days. It was painful to read it over. Once I read it, I realized I had done more of a description of myself rather than him.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Apr. 14 2009 at 5:36 am
Emily Vilbert BRONZE, St. Peters, Missouri
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

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